NCOC eases Covid-induced restrictions



One-day weekly closure of businesses ends, shrines, cinemas open for vaccinated people

ISLAMABAD:

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) eased some of the coronavirus-induced restrictions nationwide, in the wake of fall in the number of new cases of Covid-19, and the stepped-up vaccination campaign.
On account of a low-risk outlook of the disease, the forum lifted the mandatory restriction of one-day weekly closure of the markets across the country, and allowed the reopening of shrines and cinema houses for the vaccinated persons.
The NCOC, which serves as the nerve centre of the government’s anti-pandemic strategy, increased the limit of the number of participants at the wedding ceremonies. The forum increased the limit from 200 to 300 guests for indoor wedding ceremonies and from 400 to 500 for outdoor functions.
The NCOC reviewed the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) during a meeting on Friday. “The implementation of the NPIs will continue from October 16 to 31,” the forum said in a statement. “The existing NPIs will be reviewed at a meeting of the NCOC on October 28.”
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However, despite the big improvement in the pandemic situation, Planning Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC, warned in a tweet that vaccination was the key to beat the Covid pandemic, otherwise the cases could increase in the upcoming winter season.
“According to survey, 86% of the people think that the corona[virus] will be overcome soon. We are grateful for this public trust, but it will only be possible if people get vaccinated as soon as possible. Otherwise, there is a risk of increase in the spread of corona[virus] with the cold weather,” he said.
According to the official data, the authorities concerned have administered more than 93 million vaccine jabs. In its statement after the meeting, the NCOC stressed that the people must adopt the vaccination process as a national duty.
The number of Covid-19 cases is on the decline for the past few weeks. Since the start of October, the single-day tally of new cases mostly hovered around 1,000, while the national positivity ratio came down below 2.5%. The number of active cases also remained on constant decline.
On Friday, the NCOC, in its daily update of the pandemic, reported 1,086 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. It said that the national positivity ratio was 2.31%. The forum added that 28 patients died of coronavirus during the last 24 hours.
Addressing the first consultative session of infection and disease control committee, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan on Friday said the government will make a long-term effective health strategy to ensure restraining future pandemics in the country.
Dr Sultan said keeping in view the Covid-19 situation faced by the country, the government will pay more focus on training of its healthcare workers.
He said the government will also enhance coordination with provinces to avoid any pandemic-like situation and work on a joint health strategy, adding that there is a plan to make more investment in the health sector.
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He praised the NCOC for playing an effective role in managing the coronavirus situation across the country. “This disease expansion has caused a burden on the country’s health system in previous waves.”
He said keeping in view the disease risk the government is taking effective steps to protect its citizens. “Still time is not of any complacency rather strict compliance of SOPs.”
Dr Sultan said, “Covid-19 is a deadly virus, but we can control it just as we controlled it by following the SOPs during the previous waves. We can save precious lives, including those of our near and dear ones by taking preventive measures.”
He said the Covid-19 vaccine is very effective to protect citizens from medical complications from many virus variants.
“Keeping in view the detection of new Covid-19 variants in Pakistan and raising questions about the effectiveness of vaccine process, I advise the people to go for vaccination against the virus to avoid facing more complications and hospitalization.”



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